Messengers in Denim: The Amazing Things Parents Can Learn from Teens

Overview

Forty years of pediatric experience have taught Dr. Parnell Donahue that the unique perspective of teens is an invaluable resource for parents who want their children to become men and women of character. His often frank discussions with teenagers cover topics familiar to parents - drugs, sex, suicide, medical care, financial responsibility, self-image, religion, even the importance of being nice - but with the added benefit of revealing how teens feel about these and other subjects, and what teens perceive their...
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Overview

Forty years of pediatric experience have taught Dr. Parnell Donahue that the unique perspective of teens is an invaluable resource for parents who want their children to become men and women of character. His often frank discussions with teenagers cover topics familiar to parents - drugs, sex, suicide, medical care, financial responsibility, self-image, religion, even the importance of being nice - but with the added benefit of revealing how teens feel about these and other subjects, and what teens perceive their parents feel about those same issues. Each teen's true story reminds us that, despite appearances, our children carefully watch everything we as parents say and do - and they usually follow our lead. Dr. Donahue further reminds us that children want parents to teach good behavior at all times, but use words only when necessary. He complements his discussions with medical insight that helps parents fully comprehend the issues facing their teens. The result is a poignant and ofttimes humorous discussion that challenges and usually changes parents' perceptions of modern teenagers.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[This book] is written by an experienced doctor, a grandfather figure of sorts. I like his style of writing, it is easy to read and relate to. This isn't really a 'how to' book and I think it is most valuable because it has so many quotes from teenagers themselves, revealing how they really think. Just the way the homeschooling book included so many quotes from actual homeschooling families and students. The book is like a collection of case studies that reveals many great tips on parenting teens. …"

—-Anastasia B. Cafe Libri

"This book is a must-read for anyone looking for a deeper understanding of the psychology of teens and the importance of family in their lives."

—-Daniel Salinas, M.D., Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781600651069
  • Publisher: WindRiver Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Pages: 445
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Parnell Donahue earned his medical degree from Marquette University and was a Medical Officer in the USAF. He volunteered at Salvus, taught at-risk teens, and was a CASA board member. He is a member or past-member of the IAPA and AAP Pediatric societies, the AMA, the Society for Adolescent Medicine, and the American College of Sports Medicine.
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Read an Excerpt

My son Rafe was a bright boy with a GPA of 4.00 to prove it. But more importantly, he was street smart. He played trombone in the marching band, and although he had a lot of fun, he never got in trouble. He knew which kids to avoid and where to draw the line between fun and danger. He was the kind of guy you'd like for a friend, yet he didn't seem to have a lot of friends, just a few close ones who did things the same way he did.

"Tell me, Rafe, how do you deal with peer pressure?" I asked one evening during dinner."

"Peer pressure? What peer pressure?" he answered as if I had conjured the term and the problems associated with it out of thin air. Then he looked at me with his deeply set brown eyes and I noticed for the first time how thin his face was. I'd have to keep a close eye on him to be certain I wasn't just fooling myself, that I wasn't missing some terrible ailment befalling this youngster.

"Well, Rafe," I continued, "I see so many kids who smoke and drink and a lot who use drugs, so there must be some pressure for you to do the same. How do you handle it?"

"How do you deal with peer pressure, Dad?"

"I don't have any peer pressure," I replied, not expecting my well-intentioned query to be turned back on me. I was supposed to be asking the questions, not fumbling for the answers. This skinny kid is sounding smarter than I am, I thought, and I'm supposed to be teaching him and reassuring myself.

"Sure you do," Rafe said. "I work at the Country Club and I see some of the doctors you work with come in every Friday night and drink too much, then get in their cars and drive home. I never see you do that, Dad. Peer pressure is just an excuse to do what you know you shouldn't."

Rafe's revelation was one of those moments that parents dream about but don't really expect to happen. Real life rarely provides clear, moral-building episodes like we used to watch on "Leave It to Beaver" or "The Brady Bunch." It occurred when we were simply having dinner together as a family. Now a sense of urgency surged through me. I need to tell Coach Larsen about this, I thought.

Seven years earlier, when our oldest sons started high school, Coach Larsen and I decided that if we expected our kids not to drink, we shouldn't drink either. We both quit, and at that moment it seemed that the decision was paying off. Still, I wanted to draw my son out further to hear more of what he'd learned from my example and perhaps, just perhaps, what he could teach me, his father.

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Table of Contents

Dedication iii

Acknowledgements v

Foreword ix

Introduction 1

Home And Family

Chapter 1 Kids Do Listen 7

Chapter 2 Trust Your Children 17

Chapter 3 The Family Meal 27

Chapter 4 In Praise of Mothers 39

Chapter 5 Pets Are Family Too 51

Parenting Tips 63

The Importance Of Religion

Chapter 6 Religion and Health 67

Chapter 7 Religion As a Moral Compass 81

Parenting Tips 95

Substance Abuse

Chapter 8 Peer Pressure 99

Chapter 9 The Influence of Friends 109

Chapter 10 Brother's Keepers 117

Parenting Tips 129

Teen Sexuality

Chapter 11 Masturbation 133

Chapter 12 Premarital Sex 143

Chapter 13 The Condom Hoax 157

Parenting Tips 169

Adolescent Medical Issues

Chapter 14 Television and Other Screen Addictions 173

Chapter 15 Preventive Immunizations 193

Chapter 16 Making Informed Medical Decisions 207

Chapter 17 Other Sensitive Issues 223

Chapter 18 Suicide 239

Parenting Tips 254

Living Well

Chapter 19 The Habit of Happiness 259

Chapter 20 Controlling and Using Anger 277

Chapter 21 Work for What You Want 293

Chapter 22 Money and Finance 307

Chapter 23 Just Be Nice 321

Parenting Tips 330

Conclusion What Does It All Mean? 333

Appendicies

Appendix A Guidelines for Adolescent Preventive Services 343

Appendix B Review of Health Habits 347

Appendix C Immunization Schedule 351

Endnotes 353

Sources Cited 379

About the Author 405

Index 407

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